Abstract: Cardiovascular diseases, principally ischaemic heart disease and stroke, are the leading causes of global mortality and morbidity. Together with other non-communicable diseases, they account for more than 60% of global deaths and pose major social, economic and developmental challenges worldwide. In Africa, there is now compelling evidence that the major cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors are on the rise, and so are the related fatal and non-fatal sequelae, which occur at significantly younger ages than seen in high-income countries. In order to tackle this rising burden of CVD, the H3Africa Cardiovascular Working Group will hold an inaugural workshop on 30 May 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. The primary workshop objectives are to enhance our understanding of the genetic underpinnings of the common major CVDs in Africa and strengthen collaborations among the H3Africa teams and other researchers using novel genomic and epidemiological tools to contribute to reducing the burden of CVD on the continent.